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Bush torture lawyer Yoo granted immunity from Padilla lawsuit

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John Yoo, a former Department of Justice attorney who crafted legal memos authorizing the Bush administration’s notorious torture programs, will not have to face a lawsuit filed by Jose Padilla, an American citizen accused of terrorism who claims he was tortured while in U.S. military custody.

In a unanimous decision (PDF) Wednesday, three judges with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Yoo should be granted immunity because torture law was not fully settled in 2001-2003, when Yoo wrote the memos.

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“[Although] it has been clearly established for decades that torture of an American citizen violates the Constitution, and we assume without deciding that Padilla’s alleged treatment rose to the level of torture, that such treatment was torture was not clearly established in 2001-03,” Judge Raymond C. Fisher wrote.

“For several years, Padilla and his attorneys have been harassing the government officials he believes to have been responsible for his detention and ultimately conviction as a terrorist,” Yoo told The Associated Press. “He has now lost before two separate courts of appeals, and will need to find a new hobby for his remaining time in prison.”

Padilla’s attorney claims that while in U.S. custody after returning from Egypt, his client suffered “extreme isolation, sensory deprivation, severe physical pain, sleep deprivation, and profound disruption of his sense and personality, all well beyond the physical and mental discomfort that normally accompanies incarceration.”

Such treatment bears the hallmarks of harsh interrogation techniques approved by then-Defense Secretary Rumsfeld and used by interrogators of other enemy combatants held at the Guantanamo Bay and Iraqi prisons.

Padilla was initially arrested in 2002 and charged with helping foster an al Qaeda “dirty bomb” plot, but he did not face any charges during the three and a half years he was in military custody.

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When Padilla finally was indicted, the “dirty bomb” plot was not even mentioned. Bush officials instead charged him with participating in a terrorist conspiracy to “murder, maim and kidnap” people in Afghanistan, Chechnya, Bosnia and other countries from 1993 to 2001.

Padilla was finally handed a 17-year prison sentence in 2008, although prosecutors had asked for life. The judge in that case noted there was no evidence that Padilla had ever maimed, murdered or killed anyone.

Photo: Shutterstock.com, all rights reserved.

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‘He still doesn’t get it’: White House source tells CNN’s Acosta that Trump refuses to take the pandemic seriously

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CNN's Jim Acosta on Wednesday reported that President Donald Trump this week attended a meeting with his own White House Coronavirus Task Force -- and it quickly became clear that the president is still not taking the pandemic seriously even after the deaths of 156,000 Americans.

“He still doesn’t get it,” the source told Acosta. “He does not get it.”

Acosta's source says that during the meeting on Tuesday, Trump frequently tried to change the subject away from the coronavirus pandemic, despite the fact that the entire purpose of the meeting was to discuss the coronavirus pandemic.

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Trump delivers dangerously false medical claim: Children are ‘virtually immune’ from coronavirus — which is ‘going away’

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President Donald Trump is making dangerously false medical claims once again, this time to advance his agenda of forcing the nation's schools to re-open despite the coronavirus pandemic, which is growing worse in many parts of the country.

On "Fox & Friends" Wednesday morning Trump said that children are "virtually immune" from contracting the coronavirus, which is false.

"It doesn't have an impact on them," Trump told the Fox News morning team. "And I've watched some doctors say they're 'totally immune,' I don't know I hate to use the word 'totally,' the news will say, 'Oh, he made the word totally and he shouldn't have used that word.' But the fact is they are virtually immune from this problem, and we have to open our schools."

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2020 Election

Historian who predicted Trump’s upset 2016 win now says he’s going to crash and burn in 2020

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Allan Lichtman, a political historian who teaches at American University in Washington, D.C., became famous for correctly predicting President Donald Trump's upset win four years ago.

But in a new interview with The New York Times, Lichtman makes the case that Trump appears very unlikely to win a second term as the country has been racked for months by the coronavirus pandemic, high unemployment, and civil unrest.

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